Part 251: Metallurgical No-Prize
Hmmm. I propose the following iron-clad, airtight explanation that will allow us all to like the setting again.
Bronze is found in the ground. The canon explanation of this is that it's the bones of dead gods. Gods are real and walked the earth at one point.
Something in the biological makeup of gods takes in tin and copper and smelts it into bronze for their bones. This is what you're mining. So yes, it's still an alloy, but you can mine it.
I'd say he earned it.